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Remove the 'bigger is better' SUV crash advantage

Discourage SUV ownership by removing the 'bigger is better' crash safety advantage
  (+8, -2)
(+8, -2)
  [vote for,

Many urban owners of SUVs choose them because they feel that they will be safer in a crash situation against the majority of vehicles which (at least over here in the UK) are smaller and lighter.

In a head on or side impact collision with another vehicle of lower mass, the owners (correctly) believe that their vehicle will afford them better protection because it will -(1) decelerate at a slower rate (despite often causing the lighter vehicle to be throw in a reverse direction) and hence reduce their own injuries. (2) protect them by having more metal around them.

The Smart Car (which has just been launched in the US under a different name) uses the clever Tridion safety cell which does not deform sandwiched between deformable sections.

To improve on this idea, why not have smaller cars 'dig into' the road using the force of the impact to actuate pegs. As these vehicles are often significantly lower than SUVs, they can feature a wedge shaped subframe under their deformable bodywork such that on impact, an SUV would be deflected up and over the vehicle. The weight of the SUV on top of the wedge subframe would drive the pegs into the road surface to provide a nice rigid launch pad for the SUV... :-)

Legislation would have to change to encorage motor manufacturers to incorporate this design whilst preventing them updating their SUV products to get around these safeguards.

Hopefully, this would encourage a decline in urban SUV usage.

originalsen, Jun 24 2004

The rollover problem http://www.ems.org/gas/nrdc_safety.html
heavier is not necessarily safer. [cromagnon, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Just don't hit a wall in your SUV http://www.bridger....INICooperVsFordF150
[PiledHigherandDeeper, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

SUV carnage http://homepage.mac...rors/cars/cars.html
Unlikely to do this in a compact car (eg. mini) [originalsen, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Kenworth Pilgrimage http://poseur.4x4.org/futuresuv.html
The future of the SUV. [GenYus, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       Bun for the spiteful evilness of it all… Bone for the thought of what happens when the SUV has enough momentum to get airborne, but not enough to clear my car… so I’m neutral.   

       Actually, I want to be able to give you a boney-bun, something that looks like a bun from the outside, but actually has a skeleton inside. Sure, you could pick off the bun and enjoy it, but then you are left with only bone…
luecke, Jun 24 2004

       //The weight of the SUV on top of the wedge subframe would drive the pegs into the road surface//
...thus stopping the vehicle instantly and negating the benefit of a crumple zone.
Why, incidentally, do you feel the need to "encourage a decline in urban SUV usage"?
angel, Jun 24 2004

       (+) perhaps being safer in an S.U.V. during an accident is an urban myth.(link)
cromagnon, Jun 24 2004

       Angel, ...because urban SUV usage is not very efficient and promotes other non SUV drivers to purchase SUVs inorder to protect themselves from being hit by one of these leviathans.   

       The discouraging factors listed are important, but in crowded inner city areas, a major risk which was not mentioned was collision with other vehicles or even worse, pedestrians. In these conditions, the SUV generally comes off better than the small car...see the NCAP safety site.
originalsen, Jun 24 2004

       So if I feel the need for an SUV (or even just the want - I see no requirement to justify my choice of transport), perhaps to tow a caravan or horsebox or boat trailer, I have to get another car to use when I'm not towing? "Urban SUV usage is not very efficient". In what, fuel? Neither is Dodge Viper usage, but I don't see you wanting to discourage them. Your argument that they make their drivers safer and thus encourage other drivers to want them is a little strange.
angel, Jun 24 2004

       Obviously, if you need to tow a caravan or tow a heavy boat or pull a horsebox on a regular basis, then it is justifiable to have an SUV.   

       I used to live in the north of England some time ago and many people had SUVs to cope with the 2-3 week period when the roads and even the highway were completely snowed up - fair enough. Now I live in central London, I encounter a lot of people who I know don't have any practical need for an SUV. It is those people whose choice of vehicle I (and many other inner city dwellers) despise.   

       In Europe, our sports and performance cars generally have smaller, more fuel efficient engines (2.0L turbocharged or 3.0L normally aspirated are common). The Dodge Viper which never took off here actually has a relatively antiquated V10 tractor engine based variant.   

       In scientific terms, if more people feel the need to get a larger, heavier car to protect themselves from other people with larger heavier cars, then the people with the original SUVs will have to get bigger ones to feel that they have the advantage on an ever upward spiral...using even more resources. All this (2000kg of car) to carry around a family of passengers weighing 60kg to 500kg! I am a sports car enthusiast, but my Lotus 7 based sports car with a 2.0L engine weighs just 600kg and keeps up with modern Ferrari's on the few track days I have been on...
originalsen, Jun 24 2004

       I see. It's OK for you to drive a sports car with acceleration, speed and power that you don't really need because it's nice for the odd track day, but it's not OK for other people to drive SUVs with ground clearance, pulling power and robustness that *they* don't need?
Incidentally, I also live in north east England and have never needed a 4x4, but that's not really the point. I also have never felt the need to protect myself from them (at least not by buying one myself).
angel, Jun 24 2004

       The difference between the SUV and my sports car is that it consumes natural resources and pollutes what is a densely populated environment at a much greater rate. It is also more dangerous because it cannot stop or manouvre so easily with all that mass. In the event that it does collide with a pedestrian or other car, it is likely to do far more damage.   

       I do actually have a 4 door family car for the wife and our baby daughter. As for commuting, I cycle to work.
originalsen, Jun 24 2004

       Ignoring the fight over the philosophy of SUV ownership for a minute, this actually seems like a conceptually good idea.   

       There is no need to prevent SUVs from being designed to be safer when running into cars with this feature. The major danger for the SUV when launching over such a car is landing on the roof and or rolling. If SUVs were designed to better protect their passengers in such a situation, they would also be safer in a single car rollover accident. And there would be no reason for an SUV to implement a similar "anchor" system since the SUV's main safety feature is that they don't stop immediately when they hit something.   

       Now sudden deceleration for the small car when it puts down its anchors is a bad thing, but it is much better to stop on a dime than it is top stop and reverse directions on that same dime. The anchor system would need to be designed such that it would only deploy if the bumper was being pushed in faster than the speed at which the car was previously traveling, indicating that the direction of the entire car will soon be reversed if nothing is done. In addition, to make the deceleration less painful, the achors should be attached to the rigid wedge shapped outer frame, which will come to a stop very rapidly with the use of the anchors, but the passenger cell inside should be designed to contiue to move forward inside this frame, using any empty space inside the engine capartment, and the compaction of relatively soft parts such as the radiator as a crumple zone. If designed properly, it's possible then that this would be no worse for the passenger than hitting a brick wall in a normal car.   

       One thought I had about the disadvantages of this idea was that it could tear up the road quite a bit. Normally an accident can be cleaned up with a broom, but if they had to get the paving crew out each time, that would get rather expensive. But here's a thought that might not be too bad. The achors would be heavy duty spikes that were fired pyrotechnically straight down when needed. In the case of a head on, they could be fired at the exact instant that the outside frame stopped moving and was about to be accelerated backwards. In the case of a side impact, if the car was moving forward too fast, the system would have to be designed not to trigger (that would probably be a glancing blow anyway), but if for example the car was hit on the side while not moving, it would fire as soon as possible while the frame was still relatively stationary in relation to the ground. If the anchors are planted well enough that the frame deosn't get dragged around, it will only make small holes in the pavement. It might be best then to just cut the achors off flush with the pavement and smooth off any sharp edges, using a portable grinder, and leave them planted in the road. They would cause no more harm than the existing man hole covers, etc in the street.   

       Okay, now I've gone on way too long, but I have one more opinion to express.   

       Regarding the whole SUV issue, I'm only really annoyed by them when the ONLY reason someone gets an SUV is becasue of safety. This torques me off because that person is buying their safety at the direct expense of the person they get into an accident with, and by getting a less maneuverable vehicle that has bigger blind spots, is harder to see around, and takes up a larger portion of the lane, they are overall increasing the probability of an accident whether the accident is their fault or someone else's. If everyone got an SUV, the overall safety on the road would go down, so the person buying the SUV for safety is depending on the fact that not everyone will do the same thing, and those who don't want to (or can't afford to) are penalized. Liberty is a good thing, but when someone uses it in a ways that hurts others even more than it helps themselves, it means either they are an idiot or a jerk.   

       Of course there are probably some people who really want an SUV just because they think they're cool (which is a valid reason in a free society), but when asked, think that sounds lame, so they say they got it for safety. In some ways that's even worse because it misleads other people to think that safety is a valid reason by itself to get an SUV.   

       If you want safety, get a car that is very maneuverable so you can avoid accidents. That includes good acceleration, braking, and handling. When practical, small is nice for overall safety as well since it creates a smaller target, makes it easier for the person behind to see the traffic ahead, and leaves more space between cars for maneuvering. Of course too small and it's harder to build the car with the right safety equipment. Equalizing car sizes would be good for safety as well, but it will never happen. There will always be cement mixers and 18 wheelers, so I say that's a loosing battle.   

       Okay, now I've really gone on too long. Sorry.
scad mientist, Jun 24 2004

       [originalsen]: But then again, your track days pollute unnecessarily. At least the urban SUV drivers are going somewhere.
Don't misunderstand, I'm not in favour of restricting car use, but I'm also not in favour of double or arbitrary standards.
angel, Jun 24 2004

       I have to concur with luecke's first point on this one. Anchoring smaller cars probably wouldn't stop/force back the SUV, but instead cause it to plow through the other car's cab after it's done with the crumple zones.   

       And to put in my own 2¢ worth on the "SUVs are bad" issue: They don't really prevent damage in an accident, they just transfer it to the other car.
nick_n_uit, Jun 24 2004

       But I thought SUVs were already less safe in accidents and more likely to turn over, etc.
hippo, Jun 24 2004

       Bunzia! For at least putting the _safety_ onus on the 'larger, heavier, more secure, ..." vehicle. I feel special license and driving test should apply for operating these (kind of a class Oa certification) larger than average, less than domestic vehicles.
dpsyplc, Jun 24 2004

       // Hopefully, this would encourage a decline in urban SUV usage. //   


       Apparently the premise of this idea is that stupid "SUVs are evil" crap again. No, sorry. -
waugsqueke, Jun 24 2004

       Angel - I don't agree with double standards either and respectfully agree that my odd track day is wasteful of the earths resources...   

       waugsqueke - I can't really see how this post represents an unsubstantiated "SUVs are evil" perception when reasons have been clearly stated...
originalsen, Jun 25 2004

       Good job originalsen! (from one newbie to another)
robinism, Jun 25 2004

       So, [originalsen], given that your opposition to SUVs is not on the basis of their (alleged) poor fuel economy, is it simply that they offer a high degree of protection to their occupants? If so, it would seem that making them compulsory would be a better option.
Incidentally, you say that, under certain circumstances, "it is justifiable to have an SUV". Why should anyone need to justify, to you or anyone else, his choice of car? Must I explain why I drive a five-seat estate car even though I have no children?
angel, Jun 25 2004

       You're just jealous, 'cause you can't afford one. Fish for you.
TheJeff, Jun 25 2004

       Angel, I'm not sure where you got this from..."given that your opposition to SUVs is not on the basis of their (alleged) poor fuel economy".   

       I think that if we ALL drove around in lighter vehicles which were adequate for our needs, then we would all be reducing fuel consumption/ pollution and reducing the effect of any accidental damage which might occur.   

       My views are entirely in line with those of scad mientist who I think does in fact explain them better than I.   

       I must say, I also saw another post on HB and concluded that it made a lot of sense...where heavier vehicles were required (ie. for towing or to carry heavy loads), it would improve safety to segregate them into different lanes (hence the reason that HGVs are not allowed in the 3rd lane of motorways).
originalsen, Jun 25 2004

       SUVs are basically a "trouser snake" extension for the socially insecure. (bun to my man !)   

       They are more likely to kill you and much more so the pedestrians and other road users (and the environment). With this invention people would be more aware of the risks of driving a SUV. BTW The SUV clocks up the largest number of single vehicle crash fatalities. If you want to be safe get a new Volvo and wear a seat belt. The famous SUV driving Princess Di would still be here if she wore hers ! (her bodyguard did). (I know she was in a merc)
PainOCommonSense, Jun 25 2004

       people always think that when someone doesn't like SUV's they are jellous of SUV owners. These people must then think owning an SUV gives you something to be jellous about.   

       Driving/owning an SUV isn't something to be envious of, they aren't fast, they suck gas, the corner poorly, they are hard to park in cities. I don't understand why anyone would buy one if it wasn't the only vehicle that fit their lifestyle.   

       As far as safety, SUV/ Full sized trucks only roll, when they are driven like cars, the vehicle is very different and needs to be treated as such. Would you drive a loaded semi at 35 kmh around a corner ? No, and that's because it's not designed to do that. Just like an SUV isn't meant to do that at 50 kmh.   

       As far as bigger is safer, your never safe unless your the biggest thing on the road. A loaded SUV might weigh 4 ton's while a Semi truck weighs 80 tons. A semi would crush an SUV and a sports car alike.   

       ona different topic;   

       [Scout] - the rich will always be safer than the poor, that's the way it always been and always will be. It's a major reason why people want to be rich.
SystemAdmin, Jun 25 2004

       I can't wait until people start driving flashy semi trucks around town for general transportation...   

       "Holy smokes that’s a big rig! What in the world do you need that for?"   

       "Oh, so now I need a reason to drive what I want to drive? I spent 120 grand on that baby - I'll drive it wherever I damn well please. Plus it’s great for long trips with the kids. Finally I got enough room back there for them to stretch their legs and run around a bit. And the big screen TV is top of the line. It’s bling-bling baby. Those are 30-inch platinum rims back there. You can’t get that on an H2.”   

       “But I thought semi trucks were just for hauling cargo.”   

       “No way buddy. Hell, just last month I helped my brother move into his new house. You think we had to rent a stinkin’ U-haul? Heck no. Saved about two hundred bucks right there. Plus, when I finish making payments on this bad boy, I might get myself a nice little speedboat. I’m gonna need some real power to pull that thing around. Yes sir, this here truck has got the answer to all your problems. Now could you just watch it for me while I run into the store here? I can’t fit the damned thing into them tiny parking spots and the cops don’t like it when I leave her runnin’ on the street.”
luecke, Jun 25 2004

       //I'm not sure where you got this from//
Where I got it from is the combination of your assertion that you don't agree with double standards and your admission that you waste limited resources. The corollory is that you have no problem with other people doing likewise, thus your dislike of SUVs must be for some other reason.
angel, Jun 25 2004

       scout, why is it wrong for the rich to enjoy an advantage? I'm probably what you'd consider rich. I got that way through hard work (six and a half years of graduate school, slaving away at 90-hour work weeks). The reason I did that was so I could one day enjoy significant advantages. Why should I not profit from my labor? If, though my hard work, I can afford a vehicle that makes me safe, why should I not have one?
TheJeff, Jun 25 2004

       What he said.
angel, Jun 25 2004

       Here you go [leucke]. Check the link for the Kenworth Pilgrimage SUV.
GenYus, Jun 25 2004

       //It still doesn't make it right for me to...//
What is "right" depends on your viewpoint. If you earned your money, however much it might be, you can spend it as you see fit. Your spending decisions are not subject to anyone else's opinions.
//There is an enduring myth among the rich that they got that way solely through their own hard work.//
Well, not necessarily. Some of them did, and they have the same right as do you to spend their wealth. Those who did not are (in my experience of them) under no misapprehension; they know that they are "lucky". Anyway, what's your point?
Nothing makes it right for you, me, [TheJeff], or anyone else to do anything "with cynical disregard for the safety of other people", but simply driving an SUV does not fall into this category.
angel, Jun 25 2004

       I see what originalsen is trying to do. However, I am perfecrly capable of choosing my own transportation and my own method of death.   

       There's a lot of American politicians screaming about the evils of SUV's, yet they have 2 in the garage, right behind their Caddilacs. I bet there are a few hypocrites across the pond too.
bobad, Jun 25 2004

       I knew this idea would generate a lot of wider discussion, but I would like to reiterate that rather than stop freedom of choice etc., this idea is designed to level out the playing field in terms of crash protection between smaller and larger vehicles in a crash giving both sets of vehicle occupants a fair shot at minimising their injuries.
originalsen, Jun 25 2004

       In a word, overbaked. Society sucks, those with the power haven't the balls, those with money do while those who don't bitch, gee isn't it cool what a island load of english speaking foreigners can make our nest-liners do with enough real estate to stand on and a fair grasp of penis envy. Overbaked.   

       Oh and hauling services are the way to go, end of story.
dpsyplc, Jun 25 2004

       // You're just jealous, 'cause you can't afford one. Fish for you. (TheJeff) //   

       Actually, I could easily afford one as my family saloon and sportscar add up to well over the price of the top of the range ones from most of the SUV manufacturers. I tried out a Range Rover Vogue 4.6 as there was an 'off road experience' running alongside a recent track day...and couldn't see what all the fuss was about, even going off road...perhaps, on safari in Africa would be different.   

       The only SUV which would come close to either my family saloon or the sports car in terms of roadholding or performance would be the Porsche Cayenne Turbo which I would prioritise highly enough to waste my money on either to buy or run...fuel consumption (0-15mpg)!
originalsen, Jun 26 2004

       Surely a better way "to level out the playing field in terms of crash protection" would be to legislate improved crash protection for smaller vehicles. not worse protection for large ones. I would suspect also that roadholding and performance are not the principal motivators of SUV purchase but, again, this is not the point.
angel, Jun 26 2004

       Now we're talking! What if crash regulations involved smacking SUV's into compacts, compacts into compacts, all into barriers, etc? That would lower the safety rating for smaller cars, cause insurance rates to rise, and steer buyers to the safer cars. Smaller car manufacturers would have to scramble to improve their cabins. Hey, look. If a 1700# race car can flip, roll, and pirouette at 200mph and the driver walk away, manufacturers can incorporate safe 60mph cages into cabins. They will eventually do it as robots get better at precision bending and welding of high yield steel tubing. I've been lobying for this for years. Some nice structural tubing showing a bit looks quite acceptable on a car if it's done right.
bobad, Jun 26 2004

       Well I'm all for getting SUV's off the road. Especially the ones with no other purpose than as a status symbol. To the idiotic angel: How many Dodge viper's do you see in the average parking lot? and yes if you are only going to tow a boat or trailer say once a year buy a more reasonable car to drive day to day. You can use the money you save in gas to rent something with towing capabilities. Most people who drive SUV's have absoulutely no need for them. However this particular idea does have quite a few umm problems with it.
tedhaubrich, Jun 26 2004

dpsyplc, Jun 26 2004

       All these problems with SUVs will be solved when the US economy can no longer afford to subsidise it's oil price though lost tax revenue & rising vehicle related costs. We in the UK pay realistic prices which factor in the cost of oil and tax revenues to keep the roads maintained & running and pay the medial bills for the injured & asthmatic and repairs to buildings due to pollution. This works out currently in London as USD per litre 2.19156 * 3.785 (Litres to the US gallon)   

       That's $8.295 a gallon.   

       That is the price we pay today and that is the way it is going to have to go in the US too.
PainOCommonSense, Jun 28 2004

       [tedhaubrich]: First off, calling me idiotic hardly helps your own credibility.
If the issue is fuel wastage, the number of Vipers in a parking lot is irrelevant; one Viper is a bad as one SUV.
How often must I tow a trailer before you permit me to buy a suitable vehicle? A friend of mine uses his SUV to tow a caravan every weekend in summer and twice a month in winter; if you saw him at the supermarket on Thursday, you'd still criticise him for using an SUV for shopping.
Must a driver justify to you his need for a particular type of vehicle before he's permitted to have one?
Incidentally, the tax take on fuel in UK is approximately 300% (down from 400% five years ago).
angel, Jun 28 2004

       //The fact that your hard work allows you to take disproportionate advantage of a set of resources does not make it right.//   

       Um, yes it does. Welcome to the wonderful world of Democracy and Capitalism. Without the incentive of getting good stuff in return for hard work, there wouldn't be any hard work, and life would look an awful lot like China or Cuba. Capitalism rocks. And so do SUVs.
TheJeff, Jun 28 2004

       Do you consider the incentive of "not dying painfully" equivalent to //getting good stuff in return for hard work//?
Detly, Jun 28 2004

       aeolis14umbra..."does not allow for the smaller vehicle to 'bounce' away" - this is actually a good point. Where the vehicles impact and strike a 'glancing blow' at each other, it would indeed be better for both vehicles to continue moving if at all possible if they were not moving into greater danger (ie. into a head on collision with another vehicle). Not sure if there would be a technical workaround to this...perhaps anchors/cleats on a short tether?   

       TheJeff...I think that the views expressed here which are pro or anti SUV here are to do with the fact that regardless of whether a owner is wealthy or poor, if the average mass of vehicles is increased on our roads, then all vehicles, be it a £200,000 Lamborghini or a £5,000 Smart car need to work harder to protect their occupants in an impact...Whether you are rich or poor, you and more importantly, the next generation will have to suffer for your actions today in increased pollution and reduced natural resources. The main leveller here is the market - the price of fuel will get higher as it becomes more difficult to find it, but with the supposed reserves in Russia and Alaska, this may take some time.
originalsen, Jun 28 2004

       [Detly], no, being able to purchase a vehicle that affords me extra safety in a crash is equivalent to "getting good stuff." Oh, it would be nice if everyone could have top-notch health care and brand new shiny SUVs. But there isn't enough top-notch health care, nor are there enough SUVs, for EVERYONE. (Not to mention that in a society that merely handed out such things to everyone, there would no longer be the incentive to create SUVs or health care.) Resources get allocated. Some folks get a lot, some don't. If you spread stuff around equally, then everyone gets an equally sh***y share. If you allocate stuff according to effort, then those who can and do get good stuff, and those who can't and don't get bad stuff. That's what capitalism is all about. If you want more stuff, get off yer lazy bum and start working for it.
TheJeff, Jun 28 2004

       It is possible to have a good healthcare system for everyone (paying extortionate amounts of money will of course almost always get you slightly better treatement). But that is besides the point.   

       Wacking into people with your SUV's bull bars will of course negate the need for public health care as it will cause the pedestrians neck to break on impact (as opose to the knees).
PainOCommonSense, Jun 28 2004

       scout - go and read a basic book on economics before you post any pseudo-econosocial theories in here. You have no idea what you are talking about. ANd I think Mr Kerry will have to come through on a lot more than a few promises to meet your expectations of income redistribution - he'd have to instigate a marxist state.
We've had this debate here at least three or four times before. Capitalism works because the income does get redistributed - those with higher disposable incomes spend more on products and services which support jobs which give pay to more people. Obviously thhe tax man does pretty well out of the rich as well, and that gets re-dsitributed (at least in the UK) by the welfare state.
There are different falvours which re-distribute more of the wealth than others through hiugher taxes (France v UK for example) but they still rely on the capitalist dynamic to keep the economy going.
Disagree with it if you wish, but a) first read a book so you know at least the basics of the subject before you start the argument, and b) why have all the communist states failed, and the capitalist ones prospered?
goff, Jun 28 2004

       So you are driving along in the north-bound lane (east-bound for those in the UK and Australia) when you see an accident about to happen in the south-bound lanes (west-bound). You manage to avoid the cars involved by swerving, but just as you begin to recover a sticky rope smacks into the side of your car. The sudden asymetrical jerk on the left (right) side of your car sends you careening into oncoming traffic.
GenYus, Jun 28 2004

       //Yep, the sticky rope would be responsible for a tremendous amount of collateral damage. Picture a bunch of cars hanging over both sides of a bridge after a massive pileup.//   

       Are you trying to drum up business for your tow company and/or body shop?
GenYus, Jun 28 2004

       [scout] You've just confirmed my prejudices about the quality of the American education system. And try googling on "econosocial"...
goff, Jun 29 2004

       Well off the beaten topic...Goff you choose to ignore the (non-Marxist) but none the less fairly successful Scandinavian socialist economies and concentrate on the comparison to an extreme soviet system inorder to scare voters back to dubya. All Kerry needs to do is cut planned military spending and the Economy would be able to concentrate on important issues. Also GDP does not equate directly to quality of life. For true capitalism to work you would also need to redistribute the wealth every generation. In effect have massive inheritance tax inorder to encourage the wealthy children to be incentivised to work for their own estate rather than receive generous handouts from their hard working parents.
PainOCommonSense, Jun 29 2004

       I believe that we all benefit from the richness of the different economic and cultural structures that exist throughout the world and it is a little pointless in arguing which is the best. It is important, however, to ensure that as far as humanly possible, we are moving forward towards a more advanced and civilised society...reducing cruelty, dictatorship, human rights abuses and equality. This is uncomfortable for us in the wealthier societies where our hard earned money is taxed (at around 50% including tax/NI/VAT here in the UK) away from us to pay for others. Personally, where this is effectively spent (eg. on education) I do not regret it, but when I see it squandered, it does really upset me.   

       In addition, I do believe that the obsession with material wealth has driven society to be less civilised. People are too busy to spend time with their own families and friends as they work hard to pay for that new pool or tennis court...   

       Back on topic, this is a fix for a problem to equalise accident safety between smaller and larger vehicles. It is probably best to reduce the problem in the first place (seperate lanes on fast roads/highways, effective speed enforcement in urban areas) and rely on this system to 'mop up' the remaining casualties...
originalsen, Jun 29 2004

       //For true capitalism to work you would also need to redistribute the wealth every generation.//
Strangest definition of capitalism I've seen in a long while.
angel, Jun 29 2004

       Indeed angel. And PainoCommon, if you read my anno properly you'll see that I'm not advocating Dubya at all - I'm comparing the diatribe against capitalism with the comment that somehow Kerry would cure most of these ills. The point I was actually making was that even the most left wing democratic government would be some way to the right of the UK, let alone other more socialist capitlaist democracies like Sweden. Therefore the comparison was flawed. Whichever way you slice it, the US is a capitalist democracy and always will be (unless someone revokes the US Constitution). Anyway, I'm not going to carry this on anymore, it's pretty dull, and nothing to do with SUVs!
By the way, I've got a Lexus 4x4 and proud of it thanks.
goff, Jun 29 2004

       Ugh Not the Lexus? Why not go the whole hog and get the Porsche Cayenne the only car uglier than the cancerous Multipla.
PainOCommonSense, Jun 29 2004

       Wrong. The ugliest vehicle is the Scion xB.
GenYus, Jun 29 2004

       POC what about the Cayenne's cheaper twin the VW Tuareg, gotta say it's comfortable and seriously roomy but it is an SUV. whilst we are knocking SUV's don't be too harsh one of my cousins drives an SUV and another is going to buy one, both for work related reasons, would you want your doctor trapped 1/2 a mile away because the road is too steep or wet or covered in snow for their current vehicle?   

       Also their has been a mention of F1 safety features preventing injury to drivers, F1 has a huge advantage here no pesky pedestrians, any car designer could combine in the features from F1 that protect a driver in 200MPH crashes the problem is that those features would most likely make a crash with a pedestrian more dangerous.   

       Heading back on topic shirley having a car that digs in in the event of an accident just gives car jackers, and other undesirables an easier way to stop your car.
engineer1, Jun 30 2004

       //having a car that digs in in the event of an accident just gives car jackers, and other undesirables an easier way to stop your car//...surely, any car jacker is not going to be interested in a written off car!?   

       If we think about what both the lighter and heavier vehicles would do during and after impact -   

       (1) The lighter vehicle under normal circumstances would probably be flattened and pushed backward by the larger vehicle. With this system, it would stop and seek to protect itself by 'hiding' under the carnage going on above it. (2) The larger vehicle would be deflected up over and possibly around the smaller vehicle having been slowed down by the impact and crumpling bodywork of the smaller vehicle. Previously, this may have also been the situation although with the new system a glancing blow may overturn the large vehicle - something which should be taken into consideration - additional means are required to secure the occupants, although the vehicle should stop more quicker than if it were on its wheels. In terms of the disadvantage that the larger vehicle being deflected into oncoming traffic, this system would probably only be activated if there was a significant speed differntial between the vehicles - if the collision was a head on or side impact ie. the collision would already be with oncoming (or stationery) traffic...but this is also a scenario that needs further consideration.   

       To me this sounds like a better situation than we have now, but still definately half baked (or probably just lightly browned).
originalsen, Jun 30 2004

       I think the Scion xB is cute.
bristolz, Jun 30 2004

       No accounting for taste. 4x4s are great if you need to get to somewhere like farm land or Dakar. Incidentally check out the Plymouth-Dakar.
PainOCommonSense, Jul 01 2004

       Or down my potholed, unadopted (private), very steep and treacherous road in the winter.
goff, Jul 01 2004

       Is the Plymouth Dakar the Chrysler Corporation's new SUV?
angel, Jul 01 2004

       [engineer1]: Why would F1 safety features make a car more dangerous to a pedestrian? Whenever I see a car that hit a pedestrian, the amount of body damage is minimal. Usually the car has a crumpled fender and possibly a broken windshield. Using the safety cage of an F1 car wouldn't affect the pedestrian because a collision wouldn't cause the amount of damage where the safety cage would be a factor.
GenYus, Jul 01 2004

       I award leucke a boney bun for his idea.
energy guy, Jul 01 2004

       E1 means dangerous to the pedestrian.
my-nep, Aug 03 2004

       So now you're trying to hurt SUV owners like me? You piss me off. My sibling rolled her SUV about a year ago. She could have got seriously injured- maybe she would have died. And now you're encouraging it. You make me want to cancel your HB membership. But I can't, so I'll give you the fish. (By the way, the SUV she rolled was a rare Toyota 4-runner limited edition. She now has a Toyota Highlander, and she's happy with it.)
croissantz, Aug 23 2004

       She bought another SUV? You've got to be effing kidding me. The only time a Toyota Corolla gets rolled is when the neighborhood kids want to have some midnight fun.
contracts, Aug 23 2004

       I beg to differ. I was in a single car rollover in a Cavalier (smaller and lower than a Corolla). Both me and the girl who was driving were ok, but we would have been just as ok in an SUV. And my mother's Tahoe gets fairly good mileage, handles reasonably, and is easy to park. And though she could get by with a car, she enjoys driving something a little higher off the ground and can afford it. And I don't think it can even begin to be considered a "'trouser snake' extension". If it were, she would not/could not be my mother.
Hunter79764, Aug 06 2006

       In my experience, the male SUV driver is not seeking a trouser extension so much as he is playing out a "little man who wants to be big" scenario.

Female drivers seem to like them for the increased visibility and supposed safety advantages.

These vehicles aren't really a trouser extension thing for either gender, more an attempt to increase personal safety (albeit selfishly and at the expense of other road users) in the best case and a crutch for poor/under-confident drivers in the worst.
DocBrown, Aug 06 2006

       Uh.. I use my landcruiser because I live in an area where I need to, not becuase I want to intimidate the pansy nerd in the prius. it's 650km of very rough dirt road to the nearest regional centre from where I live, we only have bitumen within maybe 30km of the centre of town, all other roads are dirt, get flooded in wet season, river crossings to reach the cattle stations, etc. Many other Australians share this situation.   

       It shits me off when people have a knee-jerk reaction and want to "ban all 4wd's" or "make 4wd's dangerous to the driver because I want revenge for that one time I looked up and got scared a bit" etc. If you want to restrict 4wd (SUV) ownership and/or access to cities, fine. Far better, if you want to make 4wd's require a more thorough licensing and/or requirement test for ownership, then double tripple super dooper fine. I only go to the city 2 or 3 times a year, and don't want to have to hire a car, I would be happy to apply for some kind of short term provisional permit.   

       It's the yahoos that want to make broadsweeping changes because they can't see past their latte shops and drive-thru banks that really shit me off. The way some of these debates are going, we're facing the possibility of banning 4wd's altogether, or making them horribly expensive to register and run, both of which would have a huge impact on a significant percentage of our population.   

       </rant, grumble, grumble>
Custardguts, Nov 10 2006

       //then double tripple super dooper fine.//   

       Watch the language, young man. I'll turn this site right around, mister.
NotTheSharpestSpoon, Nov 10 2006

       Country, dirt roads, flooding, mud = SUV/ truck OKAY. CustardGuts has a point (which is my situation as well, when it floods, only larger vehicles can make it out of town).   

       Urban SUV'ing... paved roads, less flooding, no mud = less reason for SUV's.
twitch, Nov 12 2006

       Why is having a reason a prerequisite? What possible reason is there for owning a sports car? Or a yellow car? Or a car with nine cupholders? Why should anyone need to give a reason before being allowed to own a particular type of car?
angel, Nov 12 2006

       Angel, you have an exceptional point. I only willingly concede the prerequisite requirements and/or licencing points, because people seem hell bent on removing SUV's from the road altogether, and I'm trying for a compromise as opposed to a total ban.   

       I do admit they are a colossal waste of resources, when a different style of car will do the job. That said, look at the rest of peoples' lifestyles, such as hydrocarbon use from jet air travel (enormous wastage), excessive power consumption around the home, not recycling aluminium (a bigger one than you think) etc. I think a SUV owner here and there is a drop in the ocean.   

       As to the safety concerns, I'm probably not qualified to comment, I've read material on either side of the issue. For me, my cruiser is the safest option, what with wildlife and cattle on the road, etc, I would not settle for a less safe smaller "crumple zone" vehicle, as some people would seem to like me to. My crumple zone is the roo I just hit, and sad as it is, at least we're not BOTH dead.   

       Lastly, for people intimidated just because SUV's are larger.... wow. I really don't understand it. trucks and vans are large too, do you want to ban them? I don't think the fact that some people see a large vehicle in the rearview mirror and get jumpy should enter into the debate. It's a non-issue, as there are plenty of other large vehicles on the road. At some point society shouldn't be forced to pander to issues such as this.
Custardguts, Nov 12 2006

       I,myself,think that "originalsen's" idea is spectacular.As to the rollover problem,SUV owners are not totally stupid--they already know their vehicles are prone to rollover. Perhaps the most humorous part of all of these postings is from the SUV owners themselves... (i.e. the need to rationalize their extravagance). Literally millions of people drive their SUVs to work alone(without any passengers), in order to feel "safe". Maybe if they all carried guns and rode the subway things would be different,even Angel would be alright.
kingwuz, Nov 13 2006

       Shaped charge explosives, like claymore mines, mounted on the front fenders of smaller cars. Set off by accelerometer switches, as in airbags. Hit a small car so equipped with your SUV, and you'll lose the front end entirely...
whlanteigne, Mar 01 2008

       OK, not enough time to read all of that i'm afraid, though i did read quite a lot of it.   

       [+] because this is a good idea in itself and the SUV argument is a separate one.   

       Concerning SUVs, i think they are an example of why it makes more sense, environmentally, for people to live in cities as much as possible, in order to avoid the need for motor transport in many situations when living in the country would need them, and the argument for SUVs among people i know is that they have large families, which is in itself questionable in a rich country like this one (though not in a poor one). Then again, i have managed to justify having two children myself, so maybe i am just rationalising in the same way as people with SUVs _might_ be.   

       On the other hand, smaller vehicles don't necessarily mean less fuel consumption, because one potential driver per small vehicle is less friendly than car sharing or an SUV carrying several adults. When we had a car, it was a Ford Escort estate shared between my family (four people) and my brother's (three), so that's seven people. Still a lot worse than our current situation of no motor transport at all though.
nineteenthly, Mar 01 2008


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